The Force of Nonviolence: The Ethical in the Political

The Force of Nonviolence: The Ethical in the Political

“Judith Butler is the most creative and courageous social theorist writing today." – Cornel West

“Judith Butler is quite simply one of the most probing, challenging, and influential thinkers of our time.” – J. M. Bernstein

Judith Butler’s new book shows how an ethic of nonviolence must be connected to a broader political struggle for social equality. Further, it argues that nonviolence is often misunderstood as a passive practice that emanates from a calm region of the soul, or as an individualist ethical relation to existing forms of power. But, in fact, nonviolence is an ethical position found in the midst of the political field. An aggressive form of nonviolence accepts that hostility is part of our psychic constitution, but values ambivalence as a way of checking the conversion of aggression into violence. One contemporary challenge to a politics of nonviolence points out that there is a difference of opinion on what counts as violence and nonviolence. The distinction between them can be mobilized in the service of ratifying the state’s monopoly on violence.  

Considering nonviolence as an ethical problem within a political philosophy requires a critique of individualism as well as an understanding of the psychosocial dimensions of violence. Butler draws upon Foucault, Fanon, Freud, and Benjamin to consider how the interdiction against violence fails to include lives regarded as ungrievable. By considering how “racial phantasms” inform justifications of state and administrative violence, Butler tracks how violence is often attributed to those who are most severely exposed to its lethal effects. The struggle for nonviolence is found in movements for social transformation that reframe the grievability of lives in light of social equality and whose ethical claims follow from an insight into the interdependency of life as the basis of social and political equality.

Title:The Force of Nonviolence: The Ethical in the Political
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    The Force of Nonviolence: The Ethical in the Political Reviews

  • John Aggrey Odera

    I used to experience an odd sensation every time I listened to Yoko Onos and John Lennons song Imagine. It was this strange mixture of righteous indignation and hope. The song seemed to me incredibly ...

  • Danielle Anderson

    phenomenal. A must read for students of political science and philosophy....

  • Maik Arnold

    Once again, Judith Butler surprised me with a very insightful and complex seminal work about the forces of nonviolence. This book is more than philosophical reasoning, as it presents theoretical and p...

  • Alan

    An aimless-feeling and unfinished work. Should really have been called "musings on nonviolence". So many arguments are shied away from or shelved for another time that the reader has no way to shepher...

  • Shane

    In this book, Judith Butler has created a masterpiece of philosophy for the 21st Century.Drawing together her life's work in varied areas from language to feminism, from trans rights to racism, she ha...

  • Sohum

    I will have to spend some time thinking through the complexities of this book, but I think it steps away from certain political, non-violent commitments made in her earlier work and writings. Perhaps ...

  • Aaron Mayer

    Judith Butler is possibly the greatest social theorist and philosopher alive today. I love the clarity with which she writes, and her force of argument is unmatched. This is a moving, deeply compellin...

  • pcalu

    A not uninteresting book, but not innovative at all. Butler simply rehashes some of her old ideas and combines them with insights that have been around for millennia, especially in the Judaeo-Christia...

  • HAMZA ABDUL AMEER

    عمل جاد من جوديث بتلر في كشف أوجه العنف .. يوجه العنف عادة ضد الاقليات والبشر الضعفاء والمهمشين لكن قد يصدر الع...

  • Jessica Zu

    This is sooo incisive! Highly recommend to anyone who cares about being human.Radical equality must include equal grievability, all lives are grievable.A critique of self-defense: what is the self (me...